Nova Scotia

Women to make up one-third of Nova Scotia Legislature

Women will make up a slightly higher percentage of MLAs in the legislature once Tuesday's successful political candidates are sworn in.

Percentage of female MLAs to rise from 29 per cent to 33 per cent

A selection of successful female candidates, including, from top left, clockwise, Karen Casey (Liberal), Karla MacFarlane (PC), Lisa Roberts (NDP), Lenore Zann (NDP), Alana Paon (PC) and Kelly Regan (Liberal).

Women will make up a slightly higher percentage of MLAs in Nova Scotia's legislature once Tuesday's successful political candidates are sworn in.

Before the election, 15 of the 51 seats in the Nova Scotia Legislature were filled by women, or 29 per cent. Six of those female MLAs were cabinet ministers — the highest number of female cabinet ministers in the province's history.

On Tuesday, 17 women were elected, which represents 33 per cent of the seats.

The Liberal caucus will have the most women, with seven. Both the Progressive Conservatives and the New Democrats will have five female MLAs.

"I think it's great we have more women in the legislature," said New Democrat Lenore Zann, who was re-elected in Truro-Bible Hill-Millbrook-Salmon River. "I'm thrilled that I'm going to be working with such wonderful, strong women in our caucus."

Lisa Roberts won the riding of Halifax-Needham for the NDP. (CBC)

Lisa Roberts, who was re-elected for the NDP in Halifax Needham, said she was pleased there will be other women in her party's caucus.

"As a woman and as a woman with young children, I feel like I'm going to have a little posse, because Claudia Chender and Sue Leblanc, we're at sort of similar stages, which is not the normal face of a politician," she said. 

"We're outside of the normal demographic. I know that we will support each other a lot in our work."

Challenges for women

Chender won in Dartmouth South, while Leblanc took Dartmouth North, defeating Liberal Joanne Bernard, the minister for the Advisory Council on the Status of Women.

Bernard said seeing greater numbers of female MLAs is "always a good thing."

Joanne Bernard, the minister responsible for the Advisory Council on the Status of Women, lost her seat in the election. (CBC)

"Women bring their different experiences and perspectives to the table," she said. "It's always nice to have feminist women. Not every woman has that feminist lens. The more women who run, the more will get elected."

Bernard has spoken openly about challenges she has faced during her time as a female politician, including "everything from misogyny and homophobia and fat shaming."

"I'm [on] a long list of female politicians throughout the country who have had to deal with bullying," she said. "The one thing I certainly won't miss being in politics is the death threats and the stress that it caused on my family. I won't miss that."

Liberals ran fewest women

Among the 153 candidates running for the three major political parties in this campaign, 52 of them — or 34 per cent — were women.

The NDP had the highest percentage of female candidates on its roster, with 23 of 51 candidates, or 45 per cent.

Of the Tories' 51 candidates, 17 were women, or 33 per cent.

The Liberals had the lowest proportion of female candidates, with 12 of 51 candidates, or 24 per cent.

One riding had only female candidates. In Cole Harbour-Eastern Passage, the PC candidate was Barbara Adams, Nancy Jakeman ran for the NDP, Rebecca Mosher was the candidate for the Green Party and Joyce Treen ran for the Liberals.